In Enel’s Grid Futurability vision, electricity networks are technologically upgraded, becoming inclusive and participatory platforms, fostering the engagement and interaction of all stakeholders
Enel organized in Milan the event “Grid Futurability® for a Net-Zero World”, as part of the Italian pre-COP26 campaign promoting 2021 as the Year of Climate Ambition (All4Climate) and with the aim to discuss the transformation of traditional distribution networks into Smart Grids, combining the use of robust infrastructure with advanced digital solutions that make electricity grids more resilient, participatory and sustainable. The event, held at the Milan Museum of Science and Technology, was attended by Antonio Cammisecra, Head of the Enel Global Infrastructure and Networks business line, and Vincenzo Ranieri Head of Enel Infrastructure and Networks Italy and Founding Chairman of the EU DSO Entity, the newly created association for European Distribution System Operators.
In Enel’s Grid Futurability vision, electricity networks are technologically upgraded, becoming inclusive and participatory platforms, fostering the engagement and interaction of all stakeholders, as well as unlocking new opportunities in terms of innovative business models, services and shared value. At the same time, and taking into account the impact of climate change and increased frequency and severity of extreme weather phenomena, grids must become more resilient in order to improve service reliability and quality, as stakeholders will increasingly depend on electricity in the future. Furthermore, grids must truly be sustainable, with specific initiatives aimed at extending the useful life of grid components and reintroducing them within the distribution supply chain or in that of other sectors, instead of discarding them. Adopting a circular-economy approach implies introducing as many sustainable and recyclable raw materials as possible to maximize their economic value and reduce their environmental impact, as well as CO2 emissions from assets.
“Grid Futurability is the global and customer-oriented industrial approach that Enel is adopting to identify and prioritize renewal, reinforcement and expansion of the grids in the coming years. It involves the strategic spread of technologies to make better use of existing power networks as well as to build fully digital Smart Grids, combining robust infrastructure with advanced technological solutions to make them more resilient, participatory, and sustainable, minimizing the tariff impact on final customers,” said Antonio Cammisecra, Head of Enel Global Infrastructure and Networks business line. “By prioritizing the goals of the energy transition, Grid Futurability lays a roadmap to guide investments in both urban and rural areas, harmonizing long-term and short-term strategic needs, and maximizing benefits and stakeholder satisfaction, while showcasing how we can meaningfully lower the carbon footprint of network assets.”
The Enel Group has earmarked 60 billion euros of investments in distribution grids from 2021-2030, and with its industrial approach Grid Futurability®, will make a better use of legacy infrastructures but also will transform the infrastructure so as to allow for higher hosting capacity of renewables, to deploy local flexibility services and markets leveraging on distributed energy resources and to promote a more active participation of customers and stakeholders in the electrification of world economies, giving a decisive contribution to the Net-Zero ambitions of cities and nations.
The event featured the voices of leading DSOs from Italy and the UK, which highlighted in practical terms the challenges that grids are facing with more service connection requests, especially from distributed renewable generation assets, electrification of new energy needs (e.g. electric vehicles, heat pumps) and new market players. They also focused on the importance of implementing new digital technologies that promote a more active participation of customers and stakeholders.
The Grid Futurability® for a Net-Zero World event was presented by Enel in collaboration with the network distribution business of SSE, Principal Partner for COP26 – UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 and underscores the importance of prioritizing energy infrastructure upgrades in the context of ever more stringent climate change mitigation targets and measures being discussed and needed at international, national and local levels.
According to BNEF’s latest estimates (NEO2021), more than 20 trillion US dollars must be invested in grids worldwide until 2050 to support a new power system accommodating electric mobility and other forms of electrification alongside renewables. These investments are crucial to extend the life of legacy infrastructures making them fit for the new operating scenarios, as well as to lower the carbon footprint of electricity infrastructures.
Source: Company Press Release